The late Mrs LKY and I share many similar traits – we gave birth to three children, sent them to Nanyang Primary School to learn Chinese and discipline them using the cane (phew! Reading about that made my day.) We are both readers, albeit of different genres; She knitted for her kids, I bake for mine.
Other than these, Mrs LKY was every woman I am not. She was a top student, a brilliant lawyer, an income earner who could support the whole family single handedly; a devoted wife who put her husband in the centre of her universe and walked two steps behind him.
When I’m with Mike, more often than not, I’m in front of him, sometimes two steps but mostly at least two metres. I do this not because I’m disrespectful of my beloved, but more so because I’m quick and he takes his time to test my patience.
As a young wife, I admit i could have done more to support his career. I felt neglected. He did not put his family first and often worked late. I was left to juggle my career and family. It was difficult and I sometimes feel resentful for sacrificing my career to stay at home, especially when my peers at work are now high flyers Managing Directors and Business Managers. Yet now, I cherish the free time I have to engage in my hobbies and bond with the kids. Things do have the knack to turn out for the better.
Reading what MM Lee said about his wife touched a nerve. Her actions show how much she cared for MM Lee. I care for my husband too, but more often than not, my action speaks the opposite. I snap at him whenever I am in a bad mood and leave him in a confused state as to what he did wrong; my list of complaints to him as soon as he steps into the house is sometimes longer than the grocery list.
We argue about his lack of financial skill and knowledge, if in fact that is true. I nag at his weight and his expanding girth, sometimes quite unkindly. I confess I even told him I can’t take care of him if ever he is incapacitated, as i am not the nursing kind, so be prepared to stay in a nursing home. Of course I will also spare him the same predicament if ever the reverse arises.
As you can see, i make a terrible wife, someone who is way down low in the ladder of ‘top wife’ ranking.
Mrs Lee’s death is a wake up call (there were many wake up calls for me upon her death, but maybe more about that in another post.) Her death makes me assess my own role as a wife. If ever there is an appraisal for wife by an independent body, I fear I may be below expectation.
Thus I’m now committed to being a better wife to Mike and try to walk alongside him instead of ahead. (I was late in getting out of the car for once and he locked me in without even checking if I had exited, so that makes us equal.) It’s difficult to make him my centre of universe, and I think he’ll rather I don’t try for fear of suffocation.
I hope if ever I die first, Mike’s eulogy for me would be as touching as MM Lee, so that at least I know I have moved up in the ranking as I lay in my casket.